A Cardiff-based cleaning company has embraced digital technology to win new contracts, industry awards, and improve efficiency.
By focusing on employee wellbeing and an improved customer experience, it’s grown sales by 200% and increased staff retention rates.
Apollo Wales was set up by co-directors Chris Birch and Jak Bjornstrom in 2015, and works for the likes of Barclays Bank, Tesco and McDonalds. Over the past 12 months, the business has invested in new technology that has improved the way it communicates with staff and customers, reduced the amount of time spent collecting outstanding payments and led to a 200% increase in revenue from its commercial and domestic cleaning operations.
Staff can book leave and manage rotas on their phones
One key investment has been in a smartphone ‘app’ called Rotaz, which is used by staff to keep up to date with work rotas, manage their annual leave and ‘opt-in’ to work specific shifts or book overtime. The app also allows the management team to communicate company-wide updates, and update individual staff on changes to clients’ requirements. As well as improving internal communication, it also helped Apollo win the Employer of the Year category at the 2017 Cardiff Business Awards.
Our lone workers now have added security
Apollo also introduced a GPS-enabled system to track progress of its cleaning teams and provide updates to clients in real-time. The Smart In-Out system was particularly welcomed by lone workers, who now benefit from an additional level of security while at work, as well some of Apollo’s industrial customers who require essential cleaning services to be carried out during the night.
Online accounting is saving us two days a week
Another investment has been in the Kashflow online accounting package, which the business uses to manage payments from commercial customers. The owners estimate that introducing automated billing has saved the business an average of two days per week, previously spent chasing outstanding payments.
As well as increasing business efficiency, Apollo is also using digital technology to help grow its customer base. It recently won a contract with one of the world’s largest transport companies and is looking at ways in which technology can help them to grow their share of the transport cleaning market, as well as moving into other industry sectors.
We’re focusing on customer retention and growth
Apollo now uses a Customer Relationship Management system called HubSpot as part of a proactive and targeted sales and marketing operation. It has started using Facebook advertising and recently installed an automated web chat service on its website, with both tactics particularly contributing to an increase in enquiries from domestic customers. Its own use of social media is also helping to win more business, leading Apollo to add a presence on Instagram to the Facebook and Twitter accounts it already operates successfully.
Free digital support showed us where we could improve
The company received advice through the Welsh Government-funded Superfast Business Wales (SFBW) programme and, after attending a workshop and receiving one-to-one consultancy support, took the decision to streamline its website, which dramatically improved search engine rankings and usability. The owners also became more aware of how they could use analytics to develop effective marketing strategies, as well as becoming more open to trying out new ideas.
Online technology is helping us provide better customer care
“We are currently working with a new app called i-auditor, which helps us monitor the quality of our work so that we can continuously improve the services we provide,” said director Chris Birch. “We can now send automated text messages letting customers know who is cleaning their building and what time they will arrive and are looking into the introduction of loyalty cards to encourage repeat business.
“Having seen how digital technology can give us a competitive edge in the markets we operate in, we are looking at new ways to support growth within the business, while delivering the best possible levels of service to our customers.”